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Made with tender noodles, creamy pumpkin, and white Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is an irresistible dish that will check all the boxes.
Comfort food with a twist! This easy mac and cheese recipe that’s both healthy and delicious!
Try my Spaghetti Mac and Cheese next!Pin this recipe for later!
Table of Contents
- 30 Minutes Meal – The cheese sauce only takes about 15 minutes and the rest is so easy. Get this autumn meal on the table fast!
- The Perfect Autumn Meal – Full of the flavors of fall, like pumpkin, warm herbs, and spices.
- Healthier Than Traditional – Your typical mac and cheese dish has about 700 calories per serving, maybe more. This pumpkin version has about 440 per serving.
- Optional Crispy Topping – Buttery Panko breadcrumbs add a savory crunch and texture to the finished dish.
How To Make Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Cook macaroni according to the package instructions.
- Whisk the milk and pureed pumpkin together.
- Make the roux for the cheese sauce with butter and flour. Add the dried herbs.
- Whisk in the milk/pumpkin mixture. Let the sauce simmer and thicken, then stir in the remaining seasonings.
- Remove from the heat and melt the cheese into the sauce.
- Stir in macaroni, garnish, and serve.
For an even creamier sauce, use heavy cream instead of milk, or add a few ounces of cream cheese when you add the pumpkin. You could also just one cup of pumpkin instead of the whole can.
Absolutely! Just stir them in at the end.
Yes! Grease a 2-quart baking dish and pour in the mac and cheese. Top with toasted Panko and some extra shredded cheese and bake at 350℉ for about 20 minutes. This could also be prepared in advance.
Some of my favorite cheeses to pair with pumpkin dishes like this mac and cheese include sharp Cheddar, Parmesan, Gouda, Gruyere and Fontina.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat, or in the microwave, adding a few splashes of milk to rehydrate.
- Texture – For a creamier texture, use an immersion blender to process the milk and pumpkin together. You could also opt for whole milk or cream, or add a few ounces of cream cheese.
- Crispy Topping – Use panko breadcrumbs for a little crunch. Toast breadcrumbs in the oven or in a skillet until golden, then sprinkle over individual servings.
- Melting the Cheese – Stir constantly and add the cheese in small handfuls when making your cheese sauce to avoid lumps.
Try These Pumpkin Recipes Next
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounce large elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- pinch of nutmeg
- 15 ounce can pumpkin puree not pie filling
- 2 cups freshly grated white cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- fresh thyme or sage leaves optional, for garnish
- Cook macaroni according to package instructions. Drain pasta about 1 minute before instructed; just slightly before pasta is al dente. Set aside.
- Whisk milk and pumpkin together in a medium bowl or glass measuring cup with a pour spout. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden in color; about 1-2 minutes.
- Whisk in thyme, sage and paprika and cook for 1 minute.
- Whisk in milk and bring to a gentle simmer. Do not boil. Simmer until thickened; about 5 minutes, whisking frequently.
- Stir in salt, pepper, nutmeg and pumpkin purée until smooth. Use an immersion blender if desired to create a completely smooth sauce.
- Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted.
- Add macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir to completley coat the pasta.
- Garnish with fresh cracked black peper and fresh thyme or sage leaves, if desired.